What John Partington and Grayson Jones really think

Next year in May Grayson Jones will be succeeding National Leader John Partington. Over this year John is training Grayson in all that he does to make the transition work smoothly. We decided to find out more about what they think of each other, so sent them both a list of questions to ask about the other...

John speaking about Grayson

How did you meet? 

I cannot remember the first time that I met Grayson, but do know it was many many years ago. The first real recollection of him I have is when I was the Church Planting Director for AoG and we worked together a little bit; helping him plant a new pioneer church in Harrogate. 

What were your first impressions?

I so appreciated his keenness to “get out of the boat” and attempt to do something new. My heart has always been very much in the pioneering of churches, and so here was a young guy who shared that passion to church plant. In truth that particular venture didn’t quite work out as we had planned, but for me that wasn’t the absolute important matter… Grayson was a person of faith and vision and that so blessed me.          

What leadership qualities do you admire in Grayson?

Without a doubt Grayson carries an ‘apostolic’ Ephesians 4 gifting on his life and ministry. His Leadership & Visionary qualities are certainly what will help take the Assemblies of God GB forward in the coming years.

What’s a funny thing that has happened when you were together?

Obviously over the past seven years or so our friendship has deepened as we have spent more time together both in the work/ministry we do and also socially.  We’ve had lots of fun times together in Crete when we are involved with our Excel Discipleship groups. With regard to the funniest thing that has happened whilst being together perhaps the old saying kicks in; ”What goes on tour, stays on Tour”. 

...although one might talk about when I got us invited to a special Private Business Christmas Party. The Father Christmas hats, free food and official work photos were hilarious… until the organiser realised we weren’t actually part of the official gathering.

Has he ever given you some great advice? What was it?

I can well remember on one occasion when we were out together quite early on after my National Leadership appointment, Grayson said how he appreciated that who I was on the platform was the same as who I was when out socialising. His advice was: "Never change, never try to be what you aren’t, never become what others want or expect, but keep being yourself.” It was something that I have always sought to do, but his recognition and advice really helped and strengthened my resolve.

What are his strengths?

Grayson appears to be hard on the outside but is in reality reasonably soft and understanding on the inside. Possibly the opposite to myself in this respect! I know that at all times he is able to have true empathy with those who are struggling. As a father and husband I think he is a tremendous example. 

He is a spontaneous decision maker understanding and relies on the promptings of the Holy Spirit, but his personal relationship with God through a disciplined daily prayer-life is what, for me, sets him apart.

Most annoying habit?

Usually saying what I have already determined or decided. I cannot write down the very many occasions when I have found myself in NLT meetings etc. thinking; “I knew that” or “I was going to say that”, or “I think he knew what I was thinking about that.” We are very different in many ways, but rarely disagree on what needs to be done. Good, but quite annoying!

What position would he play on a football pitch and why?

Centre Half, without any doubt whatsoever. He’s big and strong, and I reckon would be hard to get past. In that position he would be wearing the ‘captains’ band so that he could direct, challenge and spur the team onto victory.

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Grayson speaking about John

How did you meet?

The first time we met was at an evangelistic event that Roy Todd and I had organised on behalf of the East Pennine Region. We had planned an event at the Doncaster Dome with Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke with 1700 people attending. The day before the event we were told Reinhart couldn’t come due to an illness so we contacted John, who was at Mattersey doing something, and asked if he would fill in. He did and was brilliant. 

What were your first impressions?

I thought John was very funny and very confident. Even though I knew he was nervous filling in for Reinhard Bonnke, which was a big ask, he was up for it and willing to do whatever it took to make it a great event for those who would be coming and needed either salvation or healing. I was very impressed with that! 

What leadership qualities do you admire in John?

John is an excellent leader in many ways. He loves people and has an incredible way of encouraging people and believing the best in them. He is a great team leader, knowing what type of people work best together, and he is always willing to release people to function in their gifting in God.

John has a strong evangelistic gifting and everywhere he goes looks to talk to people about Jesus. He is also very courageous and willing to make the hard call, even if he knows it will be misunderstood. He will always act according to his convictions.

What’s a funny thing that has happened when you were together?

At the first leadership event we did together up in Newcastle we decided the night before to go out for a meal into town. As we left our hotel John spotted the bus just pulling in up ahead of us. 

“Come on!” he said, “We can catch that one” so off he went running down the road laughing and me running after him. He just got to the bus and was shouting and laughing for me to hurry up as it was slowly pulling away. We both got on, out of breath from our 50 meter run, and laughing our heads off with everyone looking at these two overweight, old guys running for the bus. John has never let me forget that he beat me that night, as we often laugh at what we did. We must have looked so funny!

Has he ever given you some great advice? What was it?

John is always giving advice when he sees that anyone can be helped by his input. The best bit of advice he has given me is: “Always be yourself, never change who you are or be worried about what other people think, be yourself!”

What are his strengths?

John has many strengths. He is courageous, he is a very generous person, he is always willing to take on advice from others even though he has strong convictions. John has a great joy in his life, which is an incredible strength. He is a great team player and is fun to be with.

Most annoying habit?

I wouldn’t say he has an annoying habit to be honest. He certainly has habits but I wouldn’t call them annoying! When he is joking around his bottom lip always quivers, and when he gets bored in meetings or when doing something he is not really interested in he will end up messing about and flicking things at people. 

What position would he play on a football pitch and why?

I think John would be great at playing in the midfield. His whole life method is to get things passed to him so he can pass them on to others. John always tries to help other people score the goals for the team and is happy playing his part in making others look successful, as often midfield players do. He is unselfish with everything he has and is always releasing others to go further than him.

John is a great defender too and will do everything he can to stop the opposition advancing. As with all good midfield players he works tirelessly for the team and the win, but also knows how to celebrate when victory comes.